Copperas Cove’s Cochran helps Red Baseball escape with 12-10 win in annual Victory Bowl

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

After a week of fellowship, community service projects and lots of practice, the student-athletes of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes put it all on the line for their respective schools one last time during the 14th annual Super Centex Victory Bowl games held this weekend at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton and Midway High School in Waco.
Copperas Cove graduate Russel Cochran helped the Red Baseball Team hold off a charging Blue Team by striking out three of four batters faced to earn the save in the seventh inning of a 12-10 contest after serving as the Red Team catcher for three of the seven innings prior to his closing opportunity Friday night at UMHB’s Red Murff Field.
Some fellow District 12-6A players aided in the victory as well as Temple’s Zay Fach had two hits, including a sky-high two-run home run over the left field wall to bring the Red Team within a run in the second inning with Wildcat pitcher Aaron Wagaman and Harker Heights’ Austin Mitchell doing work on the mound and Belton teammates Ben Jones and Scotty Gurnett helping the Red Team retake the lead in the third inning and extend the lead in the 6th inning.
A two-RBI single by Gurnett put the Red Team on top for the first time, 6-5, in the bottom of the third inning as part of a four-run inning.
After the Blue Team rallied back to knot the game at 9-all, Jones then batted Gurnett home for an insurance run in the sixth inning for a 12-10 lead.
Cochran then did the rest. After walking the first batter faced, Cochran shut down the side and the Blue Team’s hopes for another rally with three consecutive strikeouts to end the game.  Cochran also had a single early in the contest for the Red Team.
Simultaneously on the opposite side of the UMHB complex, Copperas Cove graduate Brooke Schmidt got the start for the Red Softball Team on Dee Dillon Field.
Schmidt gave up an early run, but did a solid job in the circle for the Red Team and knocked a two-out double to the fence in her first at bat but was unable to get to home plate before the final out. However, not much else went the way of the Red squad as they were outhit 18-3 in a 13-1 blowout for the Blue Team.
On Saturday morning at Midway High School, Copperas Cove defenders Ayden Paquette and Isaiah Chisholm helped the Red Team keep the game close through three quarters, but two unanswered touchdowns by the Blue Team in the fourth quarter closed the Red Team’s chances at earning a win.
The Red Team struck first when Axtell’s Koby Hollingsworth hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass for a 6-0 lead after the missed extra point attempt.
The Blue Team then scored 19 unanswered points to take a 19-6 lead at the halftime break.
Mildred quarterback connected with Rice’s Kobe Jessie for a 33-yard touchdown for a 7-6 lead after the extra points by Eagle Christian’s David SwanSidi. Swansidi then increased the Blue Team lead to four, 10-6, with an 18-yard field with 7:18 left in the second quarter.
Shoemaker’s Brandon Cray prevented another Blue Team score by recovering a fumble at the one-yard line before the Blue team tackled Crawford’s Tanner Merenda in the end zone for a safety and a 12-6 lead.
The Blue Team then increased their lead to 13 with the first of two touchdown passes from Bosqueville quarterback Luke Bradshaw to Bosqueville runningback – turned receiver – Jay King. King was left wide open down the right sideline for a 42-yard touchdown catch.
The Red Team got back in the game when Cove’s Paquette pressured the Blue Team quarterback Daniel Ayers and forced and interception by Crawford’s Cooper Gohlke that was returned to the Blue 17-yard line that set up a one-yard touchdown by Crawford’s Garrett Pearson for a 19-14 score with 6:45 left in the third.
The second touchdown connection between Bradshaw and King for 34 yards increased the Blue lead to 26-14 with 8:08 left in the fourth and a 21-yard touchdown run by Holland’s Ayden Tomasek with 2:34 left sealed the Blue win.
Bradshaw was named Offensive MVP while Gohlke got the Defensive MVP award.
Paquette finished with seven tackles, one sack and two quarterback pressures while Chisolm finished with four tackles, a touchdown saving tackle and two pass breakups, including one that was intercepted.
The Blue Team went 3-1 in the Victory Bowl Games with the only loss coming in the tightly-contested baseball game.

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